Thank goodness baseball is not football, where there are two weeks between the conference title games and the Super Bowl. The Yankees had exactly two off days before the World Series begins tonight, and that was enough time for one local tabloid to run a doctored photo of Shane Victorino in a skirt, and for the other to use the word “Silly-delphia.” Bets have been made. DJ Jazzy Jeff has chimed in. Pre-game concerts have been scheduled (and then postponed). Tonight’s first pitch can’t come soon enough.
On paper, this should be about the best baseball game you’ve ever seen: Two ace pitchers at the very top of their games, two deep lineups (each team led its league in runs scored), and two closers who are yet to blow a game this postseason. Unfortunately, that game will be played on a field that’s been rained on for much of the day, and quite possibly in a drizzle — conditions similar to (if warmer than) those that turned the Angles into the Washington Generals of baseball. (Or perhaps into the Washington Nationals of the American League. Whichever you’d prefer.)
And speaking of those closers: It’s true that neither has blown a save in the playoffs, which made them quite the rarity this year, but the comparison isn’t quite that simple. Brad Lidge blew two saves in one weekend at Yankee Stadium earlier this year — that’s two more than Mariano Rivera blew there all season. Lidge had a perfect season in 2008, straight through the World Series, but this year, he led the majors in blown saves with eleven. And since that series at the Stadium in May, the Yankees have only solidified their place as a late-inning, pie-in-the-face juggernaut. So far in the playoffs, they’ve beaten both Joe Nathan and Brian Fuentes. In a game that (again, on paper) should be tight, this is something worth remembering. And for what it’s worth, in the Yankees six most recent World Series, the Game 1 winner has won the title all but once.
By the way, if you’re going to the game, be sure to get there early: TSA-level restrictions are in effect, because Michelle Obama and Jill Biden will be in attendance. And just to be safe, go ahead and start following the Yankees’ official weather Twitter — a depressing but necessary idea if there ever were one.